Sunday, February 14, 2016


Juvenile fish amongst the mangrove roots at Frazers Hog Cay, Berry Islands, Bahamas
Mangroves are cool trees. Found from the subtropics and tropics, there are three species—red, black, and white—that grow at different distances from the water. Reds are right in the water and have roots that branch above ground, so they look kind of like spiders with long, gangly legs. Blacks have roots that tunnel underground, then emerge in the water like little snorkels. Whites are a bit farther up the beach. The seeds—long, thin, and cylindrical—hang from the tree branches, then fall into the water and float away upright. Sometimes you’ll see whole flotillas of them, their little heads bobbing in the waves. When they reach land, they set their little roots in the sand and start growing. They’re important as nurseries for numerous fish species, which find protection among the roots. In Florida, so many sites are being infiltrated and overrun by Brazilian pepper trees, it’s nice to see the extensive mangrove swamps in the Bahamas.

Mangrove seed with budding leaf at left, roots at right, trying to grab hold of the sand at Grand Harbour Cay, Bahamas
Keep growing, little guy!

Small individual mangroves at Conception Island, Bahamas

.Beautiful grove of mangroves at Conception Island 

Monday, February 8, 2016

Great Harbour Cay, Berry Islands, Bahamas

Gorgeous beach to walk on
The fruits of our shelling labor
From Lucaya, we headed southeast toward the Berries, a string of islands large and small that are often overlooked by cruisers headed to the more popular islands. Our first stop was Great Harbour Cay. Anchored in the huge, beautiful bay on the eastern side of the island, we walked along the shore in search of a burger, since we’d heard good things about the Beach Club. We concur – the burgers were great! Sometimes you just need a meat fix. Cruisers we met on the beach (Tom and Mary and friendly dog Sadie on Flossie B) offered us a ride to the Great Harbour Marina on the western side of the island. We walked back (it’s not a wide island) past the old abandoned club apparently frequented in its heyday by the Rat Pack. The next day we went shelling along some of the beautiful and nearly deserted beaches, finding some really beautiful specimens, especially sand dollars and sea biscuits. Dinghying up Shark Creek, we saw no sharks, but so many sea turtles that we figured it should be called Turtle Creek. Lovely place, and during the time we were there, only two other boats ever came in to anchor.

Chris patiently (not!) awaiting his lunch at the Beach Club
Mangroves as far as the eye can see along Shark Creek

"Lush" is the only appropriate word for this seagrass bed along the shore of Shark Creek
Big bird was here